Another week, another crop of Drag Race queens are shoved down our gaping maws while Ru asks if we “like that, piggy?”
While Ru’s firehose approach to content has surely exhausted some, I, personally, have transcended Drag Race fatigue into a new state of fresh-eyed wonder. Something about seeing the gals wallow in a giant bowl of Tic Tacs just reminds me of the unhinged episodes of America’s Top Model that initially inspired the satirical edge of this show. (Complete with a faux Ru breakdown on set, which is right out of the Tyra Banks school of reality empire building.)
It helps this season boasts a bunch of strong contenders (and everyday, non-Drag Race news is so consistently a bummer). But whatever the reason, I’m enjoying the season 14 gals so far.
Like last week, we get new crop of seven girls, a silly photoshoot and another round of talents. The split format continues to pay off, giving each queen a lot more time to shine over the course of the premiere.
The talents are a great way to open the season, but everyone is getting a little tired of queens passing off lip syncing as a talent here (including the judges). It’s not that it doesn’t require skill, but we wouldn’t accept “wearing a wig” or “putting on lashes” as a talent on this show either. If you’re gonna sync, you better give us Aja levels of stunts to go with it.
Or, lip sync to your own original song. Last week, that strategy snagged Kornbread the win. This week, Atlanta’s own Angeria found similar success. Both tracks are bangers and nail the assignment of introducing the queens to the judges (and audience). However, not every gal has access to a producer (or even Garageband). Participating in Drag Race already requires famously exorbitant costs. Adding another barrier to access is only going to keep some more talented queens from the spotlight.
But let’s still take a moment to recognize Angeria’s win. The track is the usual electronic nonsense, but it’s fun and memorable. (Check!) And Angeria is a complete superstar. Her talent number had a wig reveal, a costume change and a FOG MACHINE. All bells and whistles aside, the greatest part with Angeria’s attitude and commitment.
The other lip syncers found mixed results. Pint-sized, Latina beauty Jorgeous brought the energy, precision and sex appeal. As the most recognizable queen in this batch, she’s clearly established as a frontrunner. On the mainstage, she looks incredible and has every movement refined.
Jasmine Kennedie, a young dancing diva, earns that title with a routine that would give an Olympian a run for their cardio. Fellow dancer, Lady Camden classes things up with a hybrid drag-ballet performance that could’ve come straight out of a Save the Last Dance reboot.
Daya Betty has a less successful sync. A cute little number to a P!nk track, it’s got a couple of moments, but it’s hardly the first impression anyone would want to make. It would be cute in a club, but on the main stage, it feels hopelessly small-scale.
Maddy Morphosis also fails to stick the landing. She plays live blues guitar, but doesn’t cheat to the camera/judges to show off her greatest trick (playing with her tongue). Notably, Maddy is Drag Race‘s first cis, straight queen. I’m sure the famously toxic Drag Race fandom will handle this well! I myself am choosing to recognize I’m, at best, three degrees removed from the drag community, and therefore I’m probably not best suited to have an opinion surrounding who does and doesn’t belong. But that’s jut me!
For what Maddy lacks in showmanship, she makes up for with at least some skill (and later on the runway). The same can’t be said for DeJa Skye, a plus-sized camp queen from Northern California. Her talent is a cheerleading lesson, but it’s delivered too sincerely and lacked any bite. DeJa is a cheer choreographer, but as the old adage implies, just because she can teach don’t mean she can do.
Not even a stunning runway is enough to save DeJa from the bottom two. She joins Daya Betty, a rock and roller from Crystal Methyd’s drag family whose own fate is sealed when she walks the runway with her dress ripped open in the back.
They lip sync for their lives to “Fallin'” by this week’s guest judge, Alicia Keys. Suddenly, DeJa transforms from a friendly, campy performer to a sexy, intense chanteuse. She is on every beat and selling every moment. Daya is no match, and Ru sends the MidWest queen home to the house of Methyd.
A few front runners are already Ru-vealing themselves. Take a look at our first impressions of these new queens in the rankings below, and leave yours in the comments!
- You can’t deny Angeria. That song was so stupid, but so catchy. Everyone who speaks with Angeria seems to love her, including Ru. Her personality is at once disarming and absolutely irresistible. She looked great in every lewk tonight. There’s something about her nose contour that makes her already wide-set eyes look even further apart. It gives Angeria a mesmerizing, almost alien quality. I cannot get enough.
- Michelle got it right with Jorgeous. She is so fully present in every moment, every movement is in character. She has a very clear picture of who Jorgeous is, and she delivers it flawlessly. She’s a fierce queen, clearly, but she’ll be tested in the improv, branding and acting challenges.
- Jasmine Kennedie may not have won this week, but she made a statement. Ru was beguiled with her glam, vintage-inspired runway. You know Ru can’t resist a young fashion queen wise beyond her years. Plus, Jasmine has the dancing chops to carry choreo. She is giving me slight Jan vibes with her eagerness, but at least she’s not singing … for now.
- The editors gave us a solid bait and switch with Lady Camden this week. Sure, ballet could be “boring,” but it’s a good sign Camden knew enough to put a fresh spin on her pirouette. Like Jorgeous, Camden has a point-of-view (Spice Girl realness), which we saw on display with the ’90s tinge to her candy-coated arrival lewk and the delightful peacock presentation on the runway.
- It’s not often a bottom two can still escape the bottom of the rankings, but DeJa Skye really showed out in that lip sync. For a queen that arrived clearly serving camp, it was refreshing to see such luscious luxury on the runway later. If she can bring the attitude and precision she showed in the lip sync next week, she can bounce back from this.
- Based on her Instagram, Maddy Morphosis has got some interesting potential. She’s capable of producing some compelling art, but I struggle to see the sizzle that makes a star. The beheaded runway presentation wasn’t the most original, but it was one of the best executed (pun intended) I’ve seen. Still, it was all gimmick. Maddy kept up with the repartee in the werk room, which gives me hope it’s just somme day-one nerves to shake.
- The one-two punch of a talent flop and wardrobe malfunction was the death sentence for Daya Betty. From the Haus of Crystal Methyd, this kooky kween seemed to have a no good, very bad day. If ever a queen could earn their way back for another shot, I’d be interested to see what Daya could do with a fresh start. Her arrival outfit showed promise, her lip sync was fun and, had it not ripped, it would have been solid runway. None of it would have made an impression like Angeria, Jorgeous or Jasmine did, but she at least could have stayed to slay another day.
What did you think of the second batch of queens?